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Governor discusses issues at town hall meeting

Property taxes, trade, and schools were the issues discussed at the Nebraska Farm Bureau town hall meeting hosting Governor Pete Ricketts on Friday, Sept. 21, at the Elite Health Center in Scottsbluff.

Ricketts opened the event with awarding Nebraska Admiralships to Mayors Randy Meininger of Scottsbluff and Kent Greenwalt of Terrytown for years of service and dedication.

One of the big issues for Nebraskans, especially property owners is property tax. One farmer at the town hall meeting talked about how he struggled with paying property taxes.

“I’ve introduced legislation with the legislature every year I’ve been governor to reduce the property tax burden,” Ricketts said.

Ricketts added cutting taxes is not easy, as last year two property tax proposals including his bill failed to pass or get out of committee.

Another issue, Ricketts noted, which could make property tax relief challenging is Medicaid expansion.

“My concerns is that medicaid has been designed for children, the elderly, and disabled,” Ricketts said.

He sees a problem where healthy adults could take money away from the truly needy.

“Then we’ll be taking away money from other programs, like education, or transportation or property tax relief.”

Nebraskans will be able to vote on the the expansion this November.

Ricketts also tackled trade.

“About 30 percent of everything we grow actually goes overseas,” he said. “So, one of the things we do is go out and promote Nebraska agriculture.”

Ricketts talked about his trips to Mexico and how they keep in touch with the Trump administration on how the tariffs are affecting the state and the need to get trade agreements wrapped up quickly.

Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson was also at the meeting. He discussed the new

Nebraska Farm Bureau Member Health Plan, an Association Health Plan for NEFB members

“If you’re a farmer or rancher and half of your income comes from agriculture, you could be eligible for the new health plan,” Nelson said.

Qualifying NEFB members can sign up for the affordable health coverage from Oct. 1 to Dec. 1, 2018 open enrollment period.

For more information visit your local NeFB office.

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